4 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

4 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
―Elvis Presley

Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak or wrong in any way.  Sometimes it simply means you’re strong enough and smart enough to let go and move forward with your life.

And that’s precisely what we discuss in today’s video blog…

Video Blog Post:

Give Up to Move Forward (video transcript):

1.  First and foremost, give up the excuses you keep reciting to yourself.

Because all the excuses and explanations in the world won’t do you any good.  They won’t add any value to your life or improve the quality of it by even the slightest margin.  To fulfill your calling and get where you wish to go in life requires more than just thinking and talking.  These feats require focused and sustained action.  And the good news is, you’re perfectly capable of taking whatever action is necessary.  You just have to choose to actually do it.

No one else can succeed for you on your behalf.  The life you live is the life you build for yourself.  There are so many possibilities to choose from, and so many opportunities for you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.  Now is the moment to actually step forward.

Sooner or later, one way or the other, you will come to realize that it’s not what you lose along the way that counts; it’s what you do with what you still have.  When you let go of the past, forgive what needs forgiving, and move forward, you in no way change the past, you change the future.

2.  Once you’re over the excuses, give up the idea that you don’t have what it takes.

You do have exactly what it takes.  Will it be easy?  Absolutely not!  Nobody is going to blindside you and hit you as hard as life will.  Sometimes life will beat you to the ground, and keep you there if you let it.  But it’s not about how hard life can hit you; it’s about how hard you can be hit and continue to move forward.  That’s what true strength is.  And that’s what winning the game of life is all about.  So keep going.

In the end, all the small things make a big difference.  Every step is crucial.  Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment.  It’s about the trials and errors that slowly get you there – the blood, the sweat, the tears, and the small, inconsequential things you do on a day-to-day basis.  It all matters in the end – every step, every regret, every decision, and every affliction.

The seemingly useless happenings add up to something.  The minimum wage job you had in high school.  The evenings you spent socializing with coworkers you never see anymore.  The hours you spent writing thoughts on a personal blog that no one reads.  Contemplations about elaborate future plans that never came to be.  All those lonely nights spent reading novels and news columns and comics strips and fashion magazines and questioning your own principles on life and sex and religion and whether or not you’re good enough just the way you are.

All of this has strengthened you.  All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had.   All of this has made you who you are today.  And all of this proves that you have the strength to deal with the challenges in front of you.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)

3.  Give up focusing on what’s wrong, and start noticing what’s right.

What you see often depends entirely on what you are looking for.  Do your best and surrender the rest.  When you stay stuck in regret of the life you think you should have had, you end up missing the beauty of what you actual do have.  You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t thankful for the good things in your life right now.

And you do not need ideal circumstances to move forward.  The happiest and most successful people do not live with a certain set of circumstances, but rather with a certain set of attitudes.  Choosing to be positive and grateful for what you have now is going to determine how you’re going to live the rest of your life.  So look for something positive about today.  Even if you have to look a little harder than usual, it still exists.

So don’t wait until everything is just right; it will never be perfect.  There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.  So what!  Get started now!  With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger.  Say it out loud:  “I am determined to live a happy life no matter what my challenges are!  I will turn all my tales of fury into tales of glory!  I will turn all of my tales of woe into tales of WOW!”  And no matter what happens, just do your best and appreciate what you’re learning.  You won’t enjoy your life if you don’t enjoy your challenges.

4.  Give up the tendency to get too caught up in other people’s judgments and opinions.

Honestly, the biggest prison you will likely ever live in is your fear of what other people think.  You cannot let other people tell you who you are or what you want.  You have to decide that for yourself.  When you’re making big decisions, remember, what you think of yourself and your life is more important than what people think of you.  Don’t let others make you feel guilty for living YOUR life.  As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, live it YOUR way.

The key here is to remember that it’s OK to listen to others sometimes, but not at the full expense of your own intuition.  Because throughout your lifetime there will be many times when the world gets real quiet and the only thing left is the beat of your own heart.  So you’d better learn the sound of it, otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s telling you.

The bottom line is that when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you truly are.  So don’t fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what’s true to you.  You don’t have to be someone else to impress people.  Let these people be impressed by who you really are.

Honestly, what does life matter if you lose yourself along the way?  Even your mentors should teach you HOW to think, not WHAT to think.  So if someone – anyone – is belittling your truth, it might be time to turn the other way.  (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

Your turn…

If you feel like you’re stuck, or struggling to make progress, know that you are not alone.  We are all in this together.  However, there is also a good chance you’re holding on to something that’s holding you back.  Which means you might be able to make things easier on yourself if you give this “something” up.

In fact, whenever Marc and I find ourselves running in place, we make it a point to evaluate our present situation, and then we ask ourselves questions like, “What’s holding us back?” and “Is there something we need to let go of, or give up, before we can move forward again?”

Today we challenge you to do the same.  Please leave a comment below and let us know:  What are you holding on to right now that’s holding you back?

Photo by: eliot


  1. Patti says

    Definitely the one thing holding me back is fear! To be happy and content, I need to make a decision which will totally change my life. Keeping the fear alive is only keeping me stuck in a very negative situation.

    Thanks for all you write as I must stop and think about what needs changing in my life for happiness to be released! But, I am always thankful for the blessings in my life.

  2. Nate says

    Good reads. For me I must give up those shallow best (fake) friends, whom has used me for twenty-ish years then toss me aside when fate challenges me.

  3. Gloria says

    Thank you for this post, I needed it. I’m in bed thinking about comments a friend made regarding me not having children. I’m 25, in grad school, and still living at home with my mother. I’m not nearly ready to have children. Nonetheless, I allowed for these comments made by my friend, who is also 25 and now pregnant with her first child, get to me. I will not let anyone make me feel guilty for living MY life! As you all stated in number 4. I won’t be made to feel I have to defend myself either. I find that I’m now defending myself against when are you having a baby? Or when are you getting married? Or where is your boyfriend? Questions each time I’m around my family and friends, quite frankly, I am sick of it! I’m a young woman and I now realize I have years ahead of me and children and marriage can wait.

    For a long time I felt anxious and sad about being 25 single and childless, but those feelings stop now. I cannot allow others opinions to dictate my feelings as I have and I thank you, Marc & Angel, for helping me come to this realization.

  4. Shannon says

    Number 4 (Give up the tendency to get too caught up in other people’s judgments and opinions) – this really resonated with me. I try not to worry too much about what other people think of me, but sometimes it’s hard. If you choose an unconventional path in life, people can and do judge you and it can be hurtful. I’m 33 and I’m single and don’t have children – this is my own choice and I’m happy with it and yet I feel constantly judged for it. I also went to university in my late twenties and am now a postgraduate student, which also seems to something on which people think they can pass judgement. It’s easy to say ‘I don’t care what people think, it’s my life’ but sometimes it is difficult and when most of your friends are married with children, it’s easy to feel isolated. It’s a tricky situation – do you be something you’re not in order to fit in, or do you be true to yourself and feel like an outcast?

  5. says

    “All of this has strengthened you. All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had. All of this has made you who you are today.”

    Whenever someone asks me what I’d change in life, this is what goes through my head. There are many “bad” things I’ve gone through, but each one of them has lead me where I am today. And no matter what, I wouldn’t want to be anyone or anywhere else.

  6. Anna says

    Thank you Marc and Angel for your awesome post. I’m also really enjoying reading the other comments also. Thanks everybody for open your heart and leave a comment here. It makes me know that I’m not alone struggling to find my way in life. Some of you have hard challenges too, but you all made it.

  7. Alicia says

    @Lindy Allen: I am so sorry about your loss. I hope that you have found closure to your friend situation.

    I had a similar situation. My best friend was so inconsiderate when my mother had suddenly died and wasn’t there for me. Strangers and other friends were there more than my own best friend. Soon after her passing, she invited me out and I thought we were going to have girl time and talk about what happened, bond, cry and find comfort, only to realize she had texted other people to hang out. She needed company to watch a movie, of all things: death :( People she didn’t really like also showed up. So disappointing.

    It really hurt me so much to see her hanging out with other friends on facebook, yet she never fully reached out to me. I called her out on it, and there was tension for a while. Months later when her grandmother died, she reached out to me and went on to explain vivid details of her body in the casket. It was so horrible, and the conversation really set me back emotionally for weeks. I finally realized that if my best friend couldn’t be there for me in the tough times then she wasn’t really a friend. I finally came to realize that friends are there even when it’s uncomfortable and not convenient. If you can’t count on those to be there for you when times get tough, then it’s not worth it. Friends are supposed to be there in the good times and the tough times, otherwise they are simply acquaintances. You must confront this and decide if it’s worth it, otherwise you will continue to carry the pain associated with your child’s death. Something so important and so profound should never be associated with the betrayal of “friends.” I hope that you remember your child’s life and death for what it was independently of these selfish people. Get rid of what’s holding you back and you will be able to move forward.

    I hope this was helpful :)

  8. Jacqui says

    This is something that I have been working on all year. I dumped my toxic relationship even though, I had two beautiful babies. The hardest part is being away from them. I am glad that they have a good dad that loves them, but I wanted them to grow up knowing how people in love really acted. That definitely wasn’t us.
    I have been focusing on taking care of myself by eating right and exercising almost daily. I have motivated so many people with my progress and that makes me feel awesome, but you ask the question what is holding me back. At first I did not know the answer, but now I am pretty sure that I have figured it out. I let others tell me I wasn’t good enough and I have believed it for so many years that it became “me”.

    I am in a new very healthy relationship and here is me over analyzing everything and thinking something is wrong when really there is nothing wrong at all. The other day I came to terms with myself. I can’t make people happy. I just can make myself happy. My problem is I may try to hard to make things work. I realized if it is not going to work out I have no control over how someone else feels about me. Thank you for this article. It really switched on a light switch. I can do anything I put my mind too.

  9. Tanner says

    I find myself holding into problems that I am having at work with colleagues, with guys I go on dates with, and friendships.

    This article will help me let go of all of that.

  10. Melissa says

    Everything in this article is so true, making it happen is a task within itself. I find myself always going back to the same thing, it is so self destructive, I know this in my mind , but it is like this inner thing I can not control. I know I have to move forward, I know that everyone has suffered loss and by me not letting go is only hurting myself. It is as if life is passing me by and all I am doing is sitting on the sidelines watching, watching other peoples happiness. I use to be one of those people, then lost what I thought was the love of my life, obviously if he was we would still be together. So, after a year and a half I am unable to form a relationship. I often think there is a signal I am sending with guys. I am sure in some ways I am. Hopefully through sites like this will lead me down the right path.

  11. Hanna C says

    What is holding me back is fear about what others think of me, and also heartache from the past breakups! But, thank you so much Marc and Angel! “You are strong enough to let the past go.” really touched my heart. Well said!

  12. Miriam Guinee says

    Great article!!! My husband and I want to move out of our neighborhood that we have lived in for 17 years. It has been our first and only home so far since we got married in 1998. The neighborhood is not what it used to be, there is more crime. Also, we’re getting tired of the house being so close to the neighbors on both sides, we want to spread out to the country. The one house next to us is a rental, and we’ve had nothing but bad luck with the type of tenants that move in, all have been rude, loud and disrespectful. I would move in two seconds but the only thing holding us back, especially me, is our wonderful neighbor who lives behind us. We have the greatest relationship with him, he lets our dog out when we have a long day or when we’re on vacation( he and Duke love each other very much!) he has fixed so many things that have broken, he’s quite the handyman and he does it out of the goodness of his heart. He’s retired and all alone, he doesn’t have a living relative around, the only living relative he has is a cousin who is two states away and not close with at all. We have become his family for the past 17 years, we are like his kids, we are in our 40’s and he is almost 70. He’s in good health, he drives and does not depend on anyone to do anything for him. My problem is I’m extremely sad at the thought of leaving him, the thought of it makes me cry! I have mentioned to him that we have been thinking of moving and although he says we should do what makes us happy, I see the sad look in his eyes and it kills me!! It will also devastate my dog- and him- if they get separated, I know that may sound silly but that have a super special relationship. In short moving from him would make me incredibly sad, mainly because I think he would be devastatingly lonely, we are his life! I feel stuck, I would love some advice! Thank you kindly, Miriam

  13. Jim says

    Thanks for the post. I’m afraid of giving up the job I have even though it imprisons me in many ways. I’m afraid of losing the securities of the health care, retirement, and salary I have associated with that career. I’m also afraid of losing my fiance’ if I give up the securities of that career even though he says he supports me and wants me to be happy. I’ve been skewered once before in making and managing a career-ending decision. I’m afraid of making the same mistake twice. Thanks for any wisdom, blessings, and wonder you might be willing to share with me. I thoroughly enjoy your books, blogs, and videos.

  14. MaryAnn says

    I think the biggest thing that holds me back is me. I get in my own way. I am a very talented graphic designer and have tons of ideas for art projects that I could do but they sit there waiting for me to get started. I don’t know why I delay. It’s dumb really and so frustrating. I can procrastinate on doing what ultimately is my passion like no one’s business. The thing is, I know that saying about regretting things you don’t do in life. I don’t want to be 80 yrs old today and say ‘why didn’t I just go for it and be the true artist that I am’.


  1. Excellent article guys. I watch this video blog with my two teenagers this morning. Practical advice! I wish Marc and Angel Hack Life was around when I was young like them! I tell them to learn this. Live this…

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